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Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse, the beginnings. Bucolic Verse (Greek for herdsman) falls under the genre of "pastoral" poetry, because the setting is usually in the countryside. However, while "pastoral" in many minds conjures images of rolling green hills with a shepherd tending a flock, the bucolic poem is less humble and describes people of refinement and culture in a natural setting. In ancient times the wealthy were more likely to keep cattle on those hills. In Latin, Virgil's 10 poems referred to as his "eclogue" is the prime example of bucolic poetry. Funny even though the sheep-cattle distinction is made between pastoral and bucolic, the "ultimate" bucolic poems constantly refer to shepherds and sheep not cows, go figure. Also see Idyll poetry or ecologue. Virgil's Ecoloque IV - You can read all of Virgil's Ecologues here. POLLIO Muses of Sicily, essay we now A somewhat loftier task! Not all men love Coppice or lowly tamarisk: sing we woods, Woods worthy of a Consul let them be. Now the last age by Cumae's Sibyl sung Has come and gone, and the majestic roll Of circling centuries begins anew: Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign, With a new breed of men sent down from heaven. Only do thou, at the boy's birth in whom The iron shall cease, the golden race arise, Befriend him, chaste Lucina; 'tis thine own Apollo reigns. And in thy consulate, This glorious age, O Pollio, shall begin, And the months enter on their mighty march. Under thy guidance, whatso tracks remain Of our old wickedness, once done away, Shall free the earth from never-ceasing fear. He shall receive the life of gods, and see Heroes with gods commingling, and himself Be seen of them, and with his father's worth Reign o'er a world at peace. For thee, O boy, First shall the earth, untilled, pour freely forth Her childish gifts, the gadding ivy-spray With foxglove and Egyptian bean-flower mixed, And laughing-eyed acanthus. Of themselves, Untended, will the she-goats then bring home Their udders swollen with milk, while flocks afield Shall of the monstrous lion have no fear. Thy very cradle shall pour forth for thee Caressing flowers. The serpent too shall die, Die shall the treacherous poison-plant, and far And wide Assyrian spices spring. But soon As thou hast skill to read of heroes' fame, And of thy father's deeds, and inly learn What virtue is, the plain by slow degrees With waving corn-crops shall to golden grow, From the wild briar shall hang the blushing grape, And stubborn oaks sweat honey-dew. Nathless Yet shall there lurk within of ancient wrong Some traces, bidding tempt the deep with ships, Gird towns with walls, with furrows cleave the earth. Therewith a second Tiphys shall there be, Her hero-freight a second Argo bear; New wars too shall arise, and once again Some great Achilles to some Troy be sent. Then, when the mellowing years have made thee man, No more shall mariner sail, nor pine-tree bark Ply traffic on the sea, but every land Shall all things bear alike: the glebe no more Shall feel the harrow's grip, nor vine the hook; The sturdy ploughman shall loose yoke from steer, Nor wool with varying colours learn to lie; But in the meadows shall the ram himself, Now with soft flush of purple, now with tint Of yellow saffron, teach his fleece to shine. While clothed in natural scarlet graze the lambs. "Such still, such ages weave ye, as ye run," Sang to their spindles the consenting Fates By Destiny's unalterable decree. Assume thy greatness, for the time draws nigh, Dear child of gods, great progeny of Jove! See how it totters- the world's orbed might, Earth, and wide ocean, and the vault profound, All, see, enraptured of the coming time! Ah! might such length of days to me be given, And breath suffice me to rehearse thy deeds, Nor Thracian Orpheus should out-sing me then, Nor Linus, though his mother this, and that His sire should aid- Orpheus Calliope, And Linus fair Apollo. Nay, though Pan, With Arcady for judge, my claim contest, With Arcady for judge great Pan himself Should own him foiled, and from the field retire. Begin to greet thy mother with a smile, O baby-boy! ten months of weariness For thee she bore: O baby-boy, begin! For him, on whom his parents have not smiled, Gods deem not worthy of their board or bed. Bucolics by Jan Haag
Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse Didactic Verse (from Greek didaktikos which implies both teaching and learning) is a genre of poetry with the clear intention to instruct and from which it is assumed the reader will learn. This genre has been around since before the invention of the alphabets. Moralistic, theological, political and societal concerns have been addressed in didactic verse framed by as many verse forms as subjects addressed. One of the more popular frames is the Didactic Couplet. If it is True, What the Prophets Write by William Blake (1757-1827) If it is true, what the Prophets write, That the heathen gods are all stocks and stones, Shall we, for the sake of being polite, Feed them with the juice of our marrow-bones? And if Bezaleel and Aholiab drew What the finger of God pointed to their view, Shall we suffer the Roman and Grecian rods To compel us to worship them as gods? They stole them from the temple of the Lord And worshipp'd them that they might make inspirèd art abhorred; The wood and stone were call'd the holy things, And their sublime intent given to their kings. ll the atonements of Jehovah spurned, And criminals to sacrifices turn'd. A few subgenres of didactic verse are: Ensenhamen is an Occitan, didactic, often lyrical verse of the 12 century primarily the property of the troubadours. Although no structure seems consistent, the verse covered subjects from proper table manners, to the comportment of a lady, and even to sexual ethics. The Epistle (Latin epistola meaning letter), is a genre of didactic verse which is a poem of voice and character. The frame of the verse is at the discretion of the poet. The poem as a letter, can be addressed to a real or imaginary person or group of persons and the character writing the letter can be real or imaginary. The tone can be formal or be very personal and the poem itself can be several pages or a short note.. Robert Burns and Alexander Pope often used this genre. Many Epistles are found in the New Testament of the Bible. Here is the opening of the Letter of James: 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion: Greetings. 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers when you fall into various temptations, 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 1:4 Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. 1:6 But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. 1:7 For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 1:8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Georgic Verse is "how to" poetry, originally concerning animal husbandry and other farm work. More modern georgic verse provides instructions in the arts and sciences, these teachings are usually in the form of rhymed verse. The Primer Couplet and Skeltonic Verse fall under this subgenre. Virgil's Georgics II (29 B.C.) Thus far the tilth of fields and stars of heaven; Now will I sing thee, Bacchus, and, with thee, The forest's young plantations and the fruit Of slow-maturing olive. Hither haste, O Father of the wine-press; all things here Teem with the bounties of thy hand; for thee With viny autumn laden blooms the field, And foams the vintage high with brimming vats; Hither, O Father of the wine-press, come, And stripped of buskin stain thy bared limbs In the new must with me.First, nature's law For generating trees is manifold; For some of their own force spontaneous spring, No hand of man compelling, and possess The plains and river-windings far and wide As pliant osier and the bending broom, Poplar, and willows in wan companies With green leaf glimmering gray; and some there be From chance-dropped seed that rear them, as the tall Chestnuts, and, mightiest of the branching wood, Jove's Aesculus, and oaks, oracular Deemed by the Greeks of old. With some sprouts forth A forest of dense suckers from the root, As elms and cherries; so, too, a pigmy plant, Beneath its mother's mighty shade upshoots The bay-tree of Parnassus. Such the modes Nature imparted first; hence all the race Of forest-trees and shrubs and sacred groves Springs into verdure. Other means there are, Which use by method for itself acquired. One, sliving suckers from the tender frame Of the tree-mother, plants them in the trench; One buries the bare stumps within his field, Truncheons cleft four-wise, or sharp-pointed stakes; Some forest-trees the layer's bent arch await, And slips yet quick within the parent-soil; No root need others, nor doth the pruner's hand Shrink to restore the topmost shoot to earth That gave it being. Nay, marvellous to tell, Lopped of its limbs, the olive, a mere stock, Still thrusts its root out from the sapless wood, And oft the branches of one kind we see Change to another's with no loss to rue, Pear-tree transformed the ingrafted apple yield, And stony cornels on the plum-tree blush. Come then, and learn what tilth to each belongs According to their kinds, ye husbandmen, And tame with culture the wild fruits, lest earth Lie idle. O blithe to make all Ismarus One forest of the wine-god, and to clothe With olives huge Tabernus! And be thou At hand, and with me ply the voyage of toil I am bound on, O my glory, O thou that art Justly the chiefest portion of my fame, Maecenas, and on this wide ocean launched Spread sail like wings to waft thee. Not that I With my poor verse would comprehend the whole, Nay, though a hundred tongues, a hundred mouths Were mine, a voice of iron; be thou at hand, Skirt but the nearer coast-line; see the shore Is in our grasp; not now with feigned song Through winding bouts and tedious preludings Shall I detain thee. For example of a more modern day Georgic verse, John Hollander wrote Rhymes Reason in which he describes various verse forms in verse. The ballad stanza's four short lines --- Are very often heard; The second and the fourth lines rhyme --- But not the first and third. The Riddle is a very popular folk verse form that made its way to respected literature because of its general appeal. It is short lyrical verse that takes the form of a question with the answer in the hints within the body of the poem. It includes metaphor, word play and paradox. Literary Riddles are often longer poems. It was fascinating when researching to find that not only were versified riddles popular in 12th century, Old English, but the ancient Norse Edda Measures included riddles as well as there are poetic riddles in Arabic, Japanese and Viet Namese showing a vast diversity of cultures enjoying the same poetic genre. An Old English Riddle by Anonymous "I never was, am always to be, No one ever saw me, nor ever will And yet I am the confidence of all To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball." (The answer: I am tomorrow) Clue-Line is a modern day "riddle" using rhymed couplets and one dummy line to provide the clues to a key word. Found at Ars' Poetica, each line should provide some clue to the thematic keyword. The elements of the Clue-Line are: stanzaic, written in any number of rhymed couplets. metered at the discretion of the poet. composed with each line providing a clue to the "thematic keyword". composed with a dummy line in the last couplet that does not provide a clue.